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Genk forward Barda up for Maccabi Haifa return

Published: Tuesday 16 August 2011, 20.25CET
A winner of two league titles with Maccabi Haifa FC, Elyaniv Barda is looking forward to stepping out at the Ramat-Gan Stadium once again when he makes his return with KRC Genk.
by Berend Scholten & Ofer Ronen-Abels
Genk forward Barda up for Maccabi Haifa return
Elyaniv Barda celebrates his one league goal so far this season ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

M. HaifaGenk

Goals scored13
 
6
Attempts on target28
 
25
Attempts off target39
 
18
Corners40
 
22
Offsides17
 
15
Fouls committed86
 
45
Yellow cards19
 
6
Red cards1
 
1
 
Published: Tuesday 16 August 2011, 20.25CET

Genk forward Barda up for Maccabi Haifa return

A winner of two league titles with Maccabi Haifa FC, Elyaniv Barda is looking forward to stepping out at the Ramat-Gan Stadium once again when he makes his return with KRC Genk.

Israel striker Elyaniv Barda is relishing a return to his former club as KRC Genk visit Maccabi Haifa FC aiming to take a positive first step towards a first UEFA Champions League group stage appearance in nine years.

The plus side for me is that at least one of the teams will qualify
Elyaniv Barda
This is a unique chance for Genk to qualify for the Champions League. A lot of Belgian clubs would be eager to be in our place
Frank Vercauteren

Barda helped Maccabi to successive league titles with nine goals in 43 league appearances during two seasons at the club between 2003 and 2005, a stage in his career the 29-year-old describes as "excellent". A Genk player since 2007, Barda will put sentiment to one side over the course of the play-off tie and is targeting at least a draw in a stadium where Haifa have scored eight goals in winning their last three European home games.

"I had an excellent time at Haifa, I love the club and I am still in touch with a lot of people," said Barda, on target 14 times last season as Genk won their third Eerste Klasse title. "It is important for them to qualify but also for us, too. The plus side for me is that at least one of the teams will qualify.

"We have a very tough match ahead of us against a very good and experienced side. We will be without four players through injury and suspension but Haifa also have their problems. Our aim is to get the best result at Ramat-Gan and make it easier for us in Genk."

Barda's former club have been eliminated from one cup competition already this season, their 1-0 victory against Bnei Sakhnin FC at the weekend not enough for the Greens to qualify from the group stage of the Israeli League Cup. If the fans are in need of a tonic, the sight of Tamir Cohen in a Haifa shirt for the first time could be just the tonic after the Israel midfielder joined from Bolton Wanderers FC last week, though Andriy Pylyavskyi has a fractured ankle and fellow defender Jurica Buljat is banned.

If Haifa's preparations have hardly been smooth, then the same could be said of Genk, who have lost goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea FC) and defender Eric Matoukou (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk) from the squad which won the league in May. Furthermore, coach Frank Vercauteren has since announced he will leave for United Arab Emirates outfit Al Jazira Club, even if his exact departure for the Middle East remains unclear.

"It would be good if we could make [my leaving date] completely clear before Wednesday," said Vercauteren. "If that is not the case, then I will lead the match in a professional way without any doubts. This is a unique chance for Genk to qualify for the Champions League. A lot of Belgian clubs would be eager to be in our place."

The coach is unable to call upon suspended duo Calvin Anele Ngcongca and Anthony Vanden Borre, playmaker Kevin De Bruyne (calf) and striker Marvin Ogunjimi (hamstring), while goalkeeper Grzegorz Sandomierski is ineligible after signing on Friday from Jagiellonia Białystok.

Last updated: 17/08/11 15.46CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000262/match=2007550/prematch/preview/index.html#barda+haifa+return

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